The golden berry…what is it exactly? What makes it so special?
Well, the golden berry comes from the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Andes in South America. They also go by the names of Inca berry, Peruvian groundcherry, poha berry, goldenberry, husk cherry and cape gooseberry.
It is a bright orange-colored small, tart, round fruit, almost the size of a marble. It resembles a mini version of a yellow cherry tomato. They have a sweet tangy taste, similar to that of pineapple and mango.
They are wrapped in a papery husk called a calyx that should be removed before eating.
But let’s get one thing straight: the golden berry is not a true berry. It is part of the tomato family and closely related to the ground tomato known as ‘tomatillo.’
Tomatoes are from the nightshade family, a large group of plants that also include potatoes, eggplants, and golden berries.
The goldenberry fruit is highly concentrated with nutrients and bioactive compounds.
In Peru, this delicious fruit is an important international export and prominent local food.
The goldenberry has also been used for centuries in traditional medicine, often to help cure jaundice. Some cultures have regarded the golden berry as a mild diuretic that promotes improved fluid balance.
The goldenberry has a sweet and tart flavor. This has made it a popular ingredient in various cakes, sweets, baked goods, trail mix, and salads.
These berries can also be consumed as a healthy snack. As the berries comprise low levels of calories and moderate levels of vitamins such as A, C, and D.
However, the real value of the golden berry is its’ antioxidant concentration. The golden berry consists of polyphenols and carotenoids, which are powerful elements of human health. When combined with other nutrients, these antioxidants make the fruit very desirable.
Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds. They give plants color, protect them from diseases and other environmental threats. They have gained popularity due to their antioxidant properties and potential curative effects on chronic and life-threatening human diseases.
Carotenoids help protect vision and combat cellular damage. Recent studies have also identified carotenoids as supreme supporters for the cardiovascular system and male reproductive health. They have also been linked to keeping the liver, prostate, breast, colon, and lungs healthy.
That would explain the goldenberry’s widespread use and increasing demand across the world.
Golden berries have an impressive nutrient profile.
They hold a moderate number of calories, providing 74 per cup (140 grams). The majority of their calories come from carbs and the contains 6 grams of fiber.
A 1-cup serving of golden berries contains:
- Carbs: 17.3 grams
- Fiber: 3.6 grams
- Protein: 1.8 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Vitamin C: 20mg (22% daily value)
- Thiamine: 0.1mg (18% daily value)
- Riboflavin: 0.17mg (8% daily value)
- Niacin: 0.8mg (5% daily value)
- Vitamin A: (58% daily value)
- Iron: 1.24 mg (7% daily value)
- Phosphorus: 33.9mg (3% daily value)
1) High in Antioxidants
The most important benefits of golden berries are derived from their high antioxidant content.
Antioxidants are plant compounds that protect against and repair the damage caused by free radicals, which are molecules linked to aging and diseases, such as cancer. This makes them an ideal nutritional supplement for preventing certain chronic diseases, including various types of cancers.
Antioxidants, like the carotenoids and polyphenolic compounds found in golden berries, neutralize free radicals. These are the damaging by-products of cellular metabolism that causes healthy cells to transform into cancerous ones.
Additional research has shown that polyphenols stop the spread of various types of cancer. This makes it a very important food source in many parts of the world. It’s what makes the golden berry a superfood.
2) Has Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
One of the other effects of antioxidants is a reduction in inflammation. If you have arthritis, gout, muscle aches, chronic pain, or even hemorrhoids, anti-inflammatory compounds soothe these conditions and increase your quality of life.
In one study, an extract from the husk of golden berries reduced inflammation in mice with inflammatory bowel disease.
Inflammation of the arteries and blood vessels is very dangerous for the cardiovascular system. Goldenberries improve heart health by reducing strain and preventing the development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
It also effectively lowers blood pressure, further decreasing the symptoms of hypertension.
3) Diabetes management
Some of the compounds found within golden berries slow the breakdown and intake of simple sugars from carbohydrates. Hence consumption of the golden berries allows for the body and bloodstream to not be flooded with sugar. It also enables insulin receptors to be regulated appropriately.
Drastic blood sugar fluctuations are the leading cause of diabetes. It can be very dangerous. The goldenberry is an effective preventative method and treatment for type 2 diabetes.
5) May Improve Vision
For those of you with weak eyesight, you may want to stock up on golden berries. Their high carotenoid content helps boost your vision. Carotenoids eliminate oxidative stress on the ocular system. This prevents the development of cataracts and macular degenerations. Which aids your vision in top working order as you age.
6) May Boost Immune system
Studies in human cells note that golden berries may help regulate your immune system. The fruit contains multiple polyphenols which block the release of certain inflammatory immune markers.
The significant level of vitamin C in a single serving of golden berries makes this a very important fruit for the immune system. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells and has certain antioxidant properties.
Vitamin C is also a key component in the production of collagen. This is what the body needs to repair and produce cells, tissues, organs, and blood vessels.
7) Useful for Weight loss
Goldenberries are also a guilt-free snack with only 53 calories per 100 grams. These tiny fruits also deliver a large percentage of your daily nutrients, without any fats or calories, helping to keep your weight loss goals on track. You can easily add them to oatmeal, yogurt, and other healthy snacks, or eat them on their own.
8) May Fight Prostate Cancer
Cancer is one of the worst diseases in the world. But thanks to this wonderful and natural fruit, it is the only fruit which has been proven to combat prostate cancer, a common disease among mature and older men
Studies have found the consumption of the golden berry directly from the garden, may help to fight prostate cancer.
However, results are only noticed after consistent consumption of the fruit. Research on mice, reported in the journal Drug Design, Development, and Therapy, finds goji berries may inhibit tumor growth and boost the effectiveness of cancer treatments.
In addition, other health benefits of the golden berry include:
- Improving digestion
- Purifying blood
- Lowering cholesterol levels
- Being a natural diuretic
- It’s rich in phosphorus and proteins which support the growth of the body
- Being a strong energizer
9) Bone Health
Some studies also suggest that golden berries (physalis pruinosa) may benefit bone health. This is a they are a rich source of vitamin K, which plays a role in the development of healthy bone turnover rates.
Potential Side Effects
Goldenberries are generally safe to consume but it should be noted that unripe golden berries contain solanine, a toxin naturally found in nightshade vegetables.
Solanine can cause digestive upset, including cramping and diarrhea — and may be fatal in rare cases. A guinea pig study focused on solanine, a component of goldenberries, and found that a dosage of 400 or 800 mg/kg dosage instead of the usual 100 mg/kg dosage led to toxicity
To be on the safe side, eat only fully ripe golden berries that have no green parts.
How to Consume Golden Berries
Fresh and dried goldenberries can be purchased at farmer markets, health shops, grocery stores and online. They are a versatile fruit that can be enjoyed in a number of ways, including:
- Enjoying raw as a snack.
- Add them to a fruit salad.
- Blend them into a smoothie.
- Make them into a jam.
- Stir them into a grain salad.
- Add fresh golden berries on top of yogurt and granola with seeds.
The goldenberry, known for its sweet-tart taste, offers a wealth of health benefits. It also helps fight prostate cancer. Goldenberries are solid sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, dietary fiber, and several minerals such as potassium and manganese.
They are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals that can help to boost your immune system, eyesight and bones.
They contain antioxidants known as carotenoids and polyphenols, which can help to prevent chronic diseases. An added benefit is that these berries are low in calories and glycemic load. This makes them ideal fruits for weight loss, as well as blood-sugar management for diabetics.